Posted on March 23, 2011
by Shulamit Warren
Parshat Miketz: Part II in the life and trying times of Joseph, the saga continues…Okay, here comes Joseph’s big break. Our hero has had a few setbacks, amoung them being sold into slavery, then thrown into jail, followed by helping a butler, then being kept in jail while he gets free, etc. But fear not, our hero keeps the faith and gets his big break at the beginning of the parsha when Pharoah has a dream. When none of Pharoah’s other magicians can interpret the dream, Pharoah calls in Joseph, and with God’s help, Joseph translates the dream as a sign of an oncoming period of fertility followed by a period of famine. Joseph presents Pharoah with a game plan and becomes Pharoah’s right hand man in preparation for these times that will certainly be difficult for not only Egypt but also the surrounding lands. With a little organization, Joseph stores the extra food during the fertile years and saves Egypt from starvation during the seven years of famine. Lo and behold, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy food, and the stage is set for confrontation between the brothers and Joseph who has become one of the most powerful men in all of Egypt. Now as we can guess, Joseph has two paths to take. One, he can throw his brothers into jail (or a dark pit) to rot (sound familiar?) or, two, he can forgive all and accept them back with open arms.
Well, Joseph handles this reunion a lot better than most of us could have. First, when he addresses his brothers he does it in a rough tone as he tries to test their feelings towards their father and the youngest son Benyamin, and if they’ve repented yet for selling him into slavery for only 20 silver pieces. Although we don’t learn of the outcome of their reunion yet, we can learn a few great lessons from this parsha. First if you go back to Joseph translating Pharoah’s dream, we can see that he gave the credit to God, and didn’t just attribute this amazing feat to himself. A lot of times we find that we have a special talent and get carried away with how good “we” are but forget where the talent came from. Additionally Joseph teaches us an important way of dealing with other people, especially those who may have deceived us or we feel have wronged us. Free and full forgiveness. Yeah, this may be a hard thing to swallow but when it comes down to it, how can we ask G-d for forgiveness for all of the bad things we’ve done each year–and expect forgiveness, if we ourselves cannot do the same to a fellow human being.
Shabbat Shalom v’ Shavuah Tov